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Dental FAQs


Q. Is there difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D.?
A. There are two common dental degrees: D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine). Both are professional dental degrees in dental health requiring significant training. The training is similar, and for practical purposes the degree are the same. Most dental schools award the D.D.S. degree; others award the D.M.D.

Q. I'm confused because I've seen many different names and titles for dentists, such as D.D.S. and D.M.D. How do you tell them apart?
A. All licensed dentists have earned either a D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree. While these graduate degrees have different names, they are similar professional degrees focused on dental health. For practical purposes, they are the same.

General dentists are dental health care professionals who provide common dental services and treatment, much as a general physician, or G.P., provides common health care services and treatment.

Dental specialists are dental care professionals specially trained in and practicing a specific type of care other than general dentistry. The most common dental specialists are:
  • Endodontists treat diseases of and injuries to the tooth pulp.

  • Orthodontists treat misaligned teeth and their surrounding structures. This is where you get braces.

  • Pedodontists treat children from birth through adolescence.

  • Periodontists treat diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth.

  • Prosthodontists address the restoration of natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth with artificial substitutes.

  • Oral Surgeons perform the removal of teeth and treat trauma and malformations of the jaw and facial structures.
Q. Will my dentist give me a copy of my dental records?
A. The HIPAA privacy rule requires that dentists provide you with a copy of your dental records. There may be appropriate fees charged by the dental office for copying such records.

Q. How do I find a dentist?
A. The American Dental Association suggests:
  • Asking family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for recommendations

  • Asking your family physician or local pharmacist

  • Seeking a recommendation from your current dentist if you are moving

  • Calling or writing your local or state dental society. Your local and state dental societies also may be listed in the telephone directory under "dentists" or "associations."
Q. If my dentist offers several different treatment options, what are some questions I should ask in deciding which treatment is best for me?
A. You should inquire about the differences between the alternative procedures, the investment in time and money for each, and the prognosis (expected outcome) for each.

Q. How do I find out how much my treatment will cost and how I can pay for itcan I find affordable dental care?
A. Discuss the cost of your treatment with your dentist before beginning, especially if your cost will exceed $200. Make sure to iInquire about your dental office's payment policies and procedures early in the process. One way that you may find savings on dental care is to purchase a dental benefits plan. You can select from a range of dental insurance plans or you can purchase a dental discount plan. A discount plan is not insurance. With a discount plan you gain access to a network of dentists who have agreed to give plan participants a reduced fee for their services. It's a good idea to look at the type of dental procedures you think you will need and see if the plan can provide you with savings.


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